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Toronto FC reacquires fullback Richie Laryea in transfer from Nottingham Forest

Toronto FC continued its rebuild Friday by reacquiring one of its own.

Canadian international fullback Richie Laryea returned to the fold in a transfer from England's Nottingham Forest, the club he left TFC for in January 2022.

The timing of that move to England proved to be difficult. Forest was on a roll in England's second-tier Championship, eventually winning promotion to the Premier League, and Laryea saw little playing time.

The 29-year-old was loaned back to Toronto seven months later. He joined the Vancouver Whitecaps last August on loan from Forest, after his loan to TFC ended June 30.

"Absolutely amazing," coach John Herdman said of Laryea's return. "Its been in the works for a while, so to finally get it over the line before the Cinci game (Canada opens the regular season Sunday at FC Cincinnati) was a big one. We'd hoped to have got him in for a couple of pre-season matches but I'm just happy he's here. And you can feel the uplift in the dressing room and even with the fans. It's exciting."

Laryea made just five appearances during his six months with Forest, which currently stands 16th in the Premier League, four points above the relegation zone.

Toronto also announced the signing of French youth international defender Nicksoen Gomis from England's Sheffield United on a two-year deal with options for 2026 and 2027. The 21-year-old impressed as a trialist during the pre-season.

Gomis joined the Sheffield United academy in 2018 and represented the Blades at the under-18 and under-1 level. He also had loan spells with Belgium's Beerschot VA and England's Bradford Park Avenue.

Also Friday, Toronto waived forward Adama Diomande. The veteran Norwegian, who made US$585,000 last season, saw just 166 minutes of league action due to injury in 2023.

Prior to his move to England, Laryea played three seasons (2019, 2020 and 2021) with Toronto after signing with the club as a free agent in March 2019. Laryea made a combined 83 appearances across all competitions for TFC, recording nine goals and adding 12 assists.

He returns to Toronto on a contract through 2026 with an option for 2027.

Laryea scored two goals and added seven assists through 29 appearances during his second stint with Toronto in 2022-23.

Internationally, Laryea has earned 48 caps for Canada and was part of Herdman's squad at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

A converted midfielder, Laryea is a rampaging fullback/wingback whose skill on the ball can cause opponents real headaches, especially in the penalty box. A fiery competitor, he also brings a real edge to whatever team he plays for.

Laryea was originally selected by Orlando City SC in the first round (seventh overall) of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. Joining Toronto on trial after being released by Orlando, he was converted to fullback by then-coach Greg Vanney,

Laryea made a combined 14 appearances across all competitions with the Whitecaps last year when his salary was listed at US$1,436,340 by the MLS Players Association.

Toronto, which finished last in the league in 2023 at 4-20-10, kicks off the MLS regular season Sunday at FC Cincinnati.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2024.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press